TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed congratulations to the Kazakh people and government on the anniversary of the Central Asian country’s Independence Day.

In a message released on Sunday to his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, President Rouhani felicitated the 26th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence and hailed the growing relations between Tehran and Astana.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran regards Kazakhstan as a reliable neighbor and partner for consultation and cooperation in line with efforts to consolidate regional stability and security as well as the Islamic solidarity,” he said in the congratulatory message.

Rouhani also wished health and success for Nazarbayev and glory for the Kazakh people and government.

In recent years, Teheran and Astana have shown eagerness to expand bilateral relations in various fields.

Kazakhstan’s Day of Independence is celebrated annually on 16 December.

Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The current President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been leader of the country since then.